Topic / Identity

Steph, Lebron & Winning With Identity

Records were broken. History was made. And this may have been the most exciting year to watch NBA basketball.

Along the way I studied and learned from two of the top competitors in the game. Steph and Lebron are both elite athletes, they both know how to win, but I was surprised to discover what they focus on and how it can be a key for us to win in our lives.

Steph Curry was interviewed after losing game 3 in the Western Conference Finals and he said,

Steph: “For us it can’t be about what the other team is doing. We have to be ourselves.”

Similarly, Lebron was interviewed by an ESPN reporter after losing game 1 and 2 of the NBA Finals.

Journalist: “Do you have to get yourself to a different level mentally, or the idea of being a man possessed… could that help you turn this series around?”

Lebron: “I think for me to go out and be who I am…and to try to lead this team as who I am, not anybody else.”

Steph, Lebron, oh…and the apostle Paul all got the importance of identity. Paul wrote this in a letter to a church in Asia.

Paul: “But by the grace of God I am what I am.” 1 Corinthians 15:10

Bottom line: Identity wins.

A secure identity is the key to victory. It’s true in basketball and it’s true in our lives as Christians.

Identity is the main area where we face temptation. Satan said to Jesus, “If you are the Son of God, then…” That’s identity language! And to Adam and Eve, Satan promised, “You will be like God...” That’s identity!

And he does the same with us.

We want to be significant. We want to be accepted. We want to have value and know that we’re loved. But Jesus wants us to know that we already have all of these things in him.

Jesus gives us our identity. We don’t have to earn it. We don’t have to prove it. No one else can bestow it upon us. Our true identity is a gift from God, purchased at the cross of Christ. That’s why the apostle Paul said,

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself…” 2 Corinthians 5:17-18

The best of the best, win by knowing their identity and sticking to it. Lebron continued his interview, saying, “I’m not Michael [Jordan]. I’m not [Muhammad] Ali. I am nobody else, I am who I am.”

As Coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs said so well, “Whoever sticks closest to their true identity has the best chance of winning.”

Knowing who you are, who God says you are, is the key to victory. Difficulty will come. Storms are unavoidable. But if we learn our true identity in Jesus and fight to believe it day in and day out, we win.

John Rinehart ,
John Rinehart , Founder & Leader of
and the author of the book Gospel Patrons